Thursday, August 7, 2008

Five out of Five!

Just when you think it could not get any better you get an evening like this. Going to try and give the shortened version...

After having found almost all of the Big Five, Wild Dog and Black Rhino my very lucky guests and I headed out to find the one animal that still eluded us. Grant was still taking a few days off and decided to come along to take a few pictures. Looking back now... a very good decision!

The drive started off with us driving into breeding herd of more than 30 elephants. Great sighting as the grey ghosts of the bush walked towards us with the sun playing on the large grey canvas. The majority of them passed behind us as the disappeared quietly into the think treeline but a few of the young males decided to come and eat right in front of and on the side of our vehicle. Awesome sighting. (Probably going to say that quite a few times in this post.) Grant got a few images of the young guys dusting themselves and the guests, whom by now have seen a lot of ellies, enjoyed being with the youngsters and watching them up close.

As we moved on we were quite happy to just bumble our way along to the dam where we were hoping to find the large herd of buffalo. We then bumped into the three Sereti brothers. These males are around 4 years old and absolutely beautiful. The sun was still a little akward and sharp but this did not stop us from making the most of the chance to photograph these beautiful animals.

Even more happy to slowly make our way to the dam we bumbled along and stopped to watch the millions of Red-Billed Queleas as they continued with their late afternoon ballet in the sky. It is amazing how these little birds don’t bump into each other as they mimic a great cloud of smoke.

We sat for quite a while watching, not know what would happen next.As we approached Tlou dam we heard the Buffalo was busy leaving the water so we took a little link road that would hopefully take us right to where they were heading. Perfect timing as about 2 minutes later we found ourselves in the middle of a herd of buffalo about 100 strong. Photography was a little bit difficult as by now it was already pitch dark and we were using the spotlight to view the animals all around us. Being part of nature and getting so close is what it is all about. Having the animals look t you, accept you and carry on with their normal activities. Awesome!

So we decided to move towards the water where we bumped into 5 White Rhino as they all milled around the water. They were just as relaxed and again it felt like we are a part of their world rather than being observers.

Surely this was enough and it was now time to move on. What are the chances of finding the ever elusive leopard and get a glimpse of this beautiful cat.

Apparently our chances were quite good!

A few days ago a rather large male leopard killed a zebra right next to one of the roads. Since then people have been popping into the area every now and then with only the occasional sighting. What we found however blew our minds!

We edged towards the kill and there was one of the largest males I have ever seen feeding on his kill.

This was no ordinary leopard sighting as he was extremely relaxed and seemed to also accept us as a part of his world. We all sat in complete awe of the beautiful spectacle that was unfolding right in front of us. No photography was also quite tricky as we had to contend with the spotlight but we all made the most of it and both Grant and I will hopefully be uploading quite a few more of the images to the Stock Library soon. We also got a short video clip of the male feeding which I will hopefully load onto YouTube soon and link to this Blog.

A Big Five Drive. Brilliant! Just when you thought it could not get bet any better and the fact that all the animals made you feel a part of the African story is what made it really special.

I could have turned this into a marathon post, and will probably refer back to it again, but I need to get going for this mornings drive so for now will leave you with a great quote from Sir Ian Maccallum which is exactly what you feel like after a day like today!

““Welcome home to your wild origins. Learn whatever you can from our animals, our wild coastlines and landscapes and from those who have identified themselves with this continent. Africa can teach you a lot about who you are and your place in the world. But you must come soon, before it’s too late.”

Check back soon for this week’s High Five.

As always I look forward to hearing from you!



Michael Palmer said...

Everyday you all are getting fantastic images - WoW!!

Enigma3 said...

Gerry and Grant,

Thaks for the super interesting images you bring to us. Both of you produce mindblowing images. Keep up the excellent work. I can not tell you how badly I would love to be there armed with my Nikon. Great Job!

MagnaniFamily said...

I was there!! =D

by Matteo, Mauro & Milva Magnani

August 2008